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Aspen forum/ Stoltenberg: Romania has played, is playing important role in our efforts to support Ukraine

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NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Tuesday that Romania has played and is playing an important role in the efforts of the North Atlantic Alliance to support Ukraine.

Romania has played and is playing an important role in our efforts to support Ukraine, having such a long land border with this country. You have been instrumental in providing support to Ukraine, but you have also helped to facilitate the support of other allied and partner countries to Ukraine. I am absolutely certain that when Foreign ministers meet today and tomorrow, the message will be that we need to sustain and step up our support, not least when it comes to France's air defense systems, to help Ukraine defend itself against all the air attacks they are now facing, said the NATO Secretary General at the Aspen - GMF Bucharest Forum.

He appreciated the fact that Romania hosts many Ukrainian refugees, "a demonstration of Romania's generous support to Ukraine and Ukrainians".

The NATO official stated that the North Atlantic Alliance was not taken by surprise when the Russian invasion of Ukraine happened, because there was information in this regard.

Actually, we have been preparing and have been ready to face situations like this since we started the big adaptation of NATO in 2014. The war didn't start in February this year, the war started in the spring of 2014 and since then NATO has implemented the biggest reinforcement, the biggest adaptation of our alliance since the end of the Cold War, with more defence spending, including from Romania in 2 percent and many other allies. We had intelligence many months before, in the fall of 2021, last year that Russia was planning to attack, a full-fledged invasion of Ukraine. We shared that intelligence with all our allies and actually with the public. So, when they invaded, that was no surprise, meaning that in the lead-up to the invasion we had already further increased our presence. I myself visited the MK base in Romania, I think it was early February, before the invasion, then we saw US troops, NATO troops and also French troops increasing their presence here. Then, on the same morning when the invasion took place, we activated our defence plans and decided to further increase our presence, Stoltenberg said.

We have acted over a long period of time, we stepped up in the weeks ahead of the invasion, and then after the invasion many allies, but not least France, leading the Battle Group, have further increased their presence in the region. This is backed by significant naval power in the Baltic Sea and the Mediterranean and also with a lot of Air power and we can quickly reinforce even more if needed, Stoltenberg said, who pointed out that the Black has great strategic importance for the North Atlantic Alliance.AGERPRES

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